A Model Project Curbing Rate of Teenage pregnancies and STIs in Schools in Ghana

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Fouzia Tua Alhassan, MWML project Officer, Savana Signatures

All children have the right to be protected from harmful practices, the right to health and the right to know and share information” according to the UN Convention on the rights to sexual health information.

All children are vulnerable irrespective of where they live and need to be guided and protected hence national and international conventions on the rights of children.

In our traditional settings, children are denied their rights to know and access information because parents and adults perceive they are too young to be allowed to take their own decisions on issues that affect them.

Though the UN convention and other national laws have given children their fundamental human rights popularly known as Chapter five to know and access information, children under the circumstance are still forced to accept decisions adults take on their behalf.

It is against this background that I commend Savana Signatures’ My World My Life (MWML) project. The project was designed to fill in the gap and also push for the liberalization of customs and perceptions that deny children the rights to access sexual and reproductive health and rights information, MWML teaches children about SRHR to enable them make informed decisions as they grow up.

The project has four thematic areas; education, sexual reproductive health and rights, gender and social inclusion and youth empowerment making it one of the unique and child-friendly projects ever implemented in Ghana.

The organization is currently piloting My World and My Life (MWML) project as part of the SRHR programs to help young people make informed decisions with regards to their sexuality.

MWML curriculum focuses on sexual health and sought to curb the spread of sexual transmitted infections (STIs) among young children. The curriculum is made up of fourteen lessons, with learning objectives, assignments, warming ups, presentations, games, tools, guidelines and stories guiding pupil and teachers during teaching and learning of sexuality lessons in school.

Aside this, MWML also offers a unique opportunity for contemporary sexuality education and focuses on developing technical and social competencies, such as negotiation skills, contraceptive use and the right to refuse sex. These competencies are the knowledge every growing child will need to make valuable decisions about him/her self.

The program which is being implemented in nine schools in the north has contributed to improve SRHR situation amongst young people and thereby curbing the rate of teenage pregnancies and spread of STIs among pupils.

According to statistics from the schools, the project has improve the confidence of young pupils which is expected to help reduce  teenage pregnancies and school drop out among pupils and as well, teachers in the beneficiary schools have become passionate in facilitating the teaching and learning of comprehensive sexuality education.

Building an HIV free society demands that new model programmes such as My World My Life are introduce to the young children at the early age to prepare them to manage their lives well.